Being diagnosed with any disease can be a scary experience for anyone. Myeloproliferative disease (MPD) is not a condition that many people are familiar with so it can be even more frightening to get a diagnosis. First and foremost, it is important to learn and understand your condition. Having an understanding of the possible causes, symptoms and treatments can help a lot in dealing with a diagnosis and then managing your condition.
Myeloproliferative disease is sometimes called a myeloproliferative neoplasm (MPN) and it differs from most cancers, which are referred to as malignant neoplasms. Myeloproliferative disease actually describes a number of similar disorders that affect the bone marrow. In each of the four conditions the body produces an excess of one or more types of cells in the bone marrow. The four specific MPD conditions are: polycythemia vera, essential thrombocytosis, primary myelofibrosis and chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML).
Myeloproliferative disease does share a few features with other forms of leukemia, but it is unlike those other forms in a variety of ways. It can evolve into acute myeloid leukemia or myelodysplastic syndrome over time though. In general, a myeloproliferative disease is less severe and easier to manage than similar conditions. It is still a serious disease that presents a number of health risks.
What are the Main Causes of Myeloproliferative Disease?
All four of the conditions that are associated with myeloproliferative disease seem to stem from mutated precursor genes in the myeloid lineages of bone marrow. The vast majority of people diagnosed with any myeloproliferative disease seem to have a mutation that affects one of the proteins involved in blood cell production, JAK2. This results in the proliferation of bone marrow cells - either red blood cells, white blood cells, collagen or platelets. What exactly causes the initial mutation is still unknown.
It is possible that myeloproliferative disease is the result of toxins in the environment, but this has not yet been scientifically proven. There have been instances of "pockets" of myeloproliferative disease where a disproportionately large number of people in a given area have developed one of the associated conditions. There is also possible that there is a genetic trait that makes some people more predisposed to develop the disease. The Philadelphia chromosome is a translocation abnormality between chromosome 9 and chromosome 22. It is particularly prevalent in chronic myelogenous leukemia, but less common in the other three disorders.
What are the Symptoms Myeloproliferative Disease?
Myeloproliferative disease symptoms can vary widely. Some people experience no symptoms at all, while others do display symptoms on an off. It depends largely on the specific condition as well as the severity and stage of its progression. One characteristic that three of the myeloproliferative disease conditions have in common is an enlarged spleen, with the exception of essential thrombocytosis. An enlarged spleen can cause abdominal pain and feeling full.
Some of the other possible myeloproliferative disease symptoms include fatigue, headache and high blood pressure. Sometimes people experience nosebleeds as well as the swelling of their extremities. Other people will find that they bruise more easily or they experience sudden weight loss along with anemia. These symptoms can present themselves at any time during the disease or not at all. Often people do not associate any of these symptoms with the condition and they do not seek a diagnosis.
Prevention and Cure of Myeloproliferative Disease
Despite the unknown cause of myeloproliferative disease there do seem to be several risk factors associated with developing one of the four conditions. Men are more likely to develop all of the conditions except essential thrombocytosis, which is more prevalent in women. Exposure to petrochemicals, radiation may also increase the risk of myeloproliferative disease. It can develop at any age, but is most often diagnosed in people over sixty.
There is currently no cure for myeloproliferative disease. Fortunately, there are several myeloproliferative disease treatments. The treatments mostly work to lessen any symptoms present and decrease the likelihood of developing complications. You may want to seek consultantion to any bone marrow transplant in Singapore. Myelosuppressive therapy with various medications such as hydroxyurea or anagrelide will decrease the red blood cell count. A phlebotomy is another option, which decreases the red blood cell count by removing blood from the body. The other symptoms like headaches and anemia can be treated with low-dose aspirin and anemia medications. With the conditions that result in an enlarged spleen sometimes surgery becomes necessary to remove the swollen spleen.